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Bitter to be a sales sweetener, Technomic says

After yearning for years for bolder flavors from restaurants, consumers are ready to accept some bitterness. Indeed, that’s what they’d now prefer, according to the research company Technomic Inc.

In a forecast of 10 trends likely to reshape menus in 2015, the Chicago-based firm cites a growing preference for bitter flavors. “Look for darker coffees, deeper chocolates, next-gen cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and collard greens, hoppy beers and cocktails with the bite of bitters,” it advises.

The other trends Technomic foresees:

  • Photographic considerations in the age of Instagram will influence plate presentations and even dining room lighting.
  • Units, menus and even waitstaffs will get smaller.
  • Foodservice options like pop-ups and high-quality vending will put better food in closer reach of customers wherever they happen to be.
  • Beverages will increasingly become the products for which restaurants are known.
  • The quest for new Asian experiences will raise demand for Vietnamese, Korean and spicy ramen options.
  • Health and food-sensitivity considerations will be addressed increasingly though pick-and-choose menus, enabling patrons to build meals consistent with whatever dietary constrictions or concerns are governing their eating habits at the moment.
  • A preference for local ingredients will telescope down to a yearning for hyper-local options, like house-filtered water.
  • A restaurant’s reputation as an employer will figure more into its popularity as a place to eat.
  • The challenge of satisfying multiple generations will intensify as preferences in music, ambience and guest technology grow more disparate.

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